Voices for Recovery
Recovery has given my life great purpose and value – something I sought but never found with drugs. I’m so proud of where I am today. Five years ago, my husband and I founded a recovery community organization in our hometown: the McShin Foundation in Richmond, VA. This helps us share the gift of recovery with others, while sustaining our own. This is how recovery works – you have to give it away to keep it.
Here’s my story. I started young: by age 12, I was drinking alcohol and smoking pot every day. Like so many others, I progressed and used the whole spectrum of drugs. Ashamed of the quantities I used by myself, I knew inside I was an addict.
By age 29, I was one of the millions of people who used drugs and still go to work every day. Ultimately, my sister and employer joined forces for an intervention. Because I was already demoralized and desperate, it wasn’t a struggle to get me to agree to attend a residential addiction treatment center. My health plan did not cover my treatment, but I am grateful that I had loved ones who could.
In treatment, I was introduced to the 12 steps and continue to use them as the foundation of my ongoing recovery. I lived in a recovery house with other women at first and stayed clean for 6 years. During that time, my relationships with my family, my employer, and much of my past were healed. All areas of my life seemed to flourish except the area of intimate relationships, and after a particularly painful breakup, I relapsed. After a second treatment stay, and with the support of a large recovery community, my recovery now feels solid. I have been alcohol and drug free for 12 years.
My recovery has allowed me to become a wife, a stepmom, a small-business owner, and a recovery advocate in Washington, DC. Every day in my professional life, I am able to use my advocacy skills to bring recovery to individuals and families who need it. I now serve on the Board of Faces and Voices of Recovery, an organization that brings the hope and reality to the public, so that I can keep sharing the gift of recovery.